People generally believe in the existence of spirits, demonic or good spirits. Most often spirits are believed to bring disaster. On encountering Jesus walking on the water, the disciples think they are seeing a water spirit and, understandably, they are afraid. Jesus allays the fears of the disciples with a summons to courage, saying, “It is I.” This can be understood as a normal statement of identity (“It is I, Jesus”), but it can also possess a deeper significance as the recognized formula of God’s self-revelation. God gives his name to Moses in the burning bush:
“I am who I am” (Ex 3:14). Thus, the walking upon the water and the emphatic “I” favor a theophanic interpretation: Jesus is revealed as possessing divine power.
Moreover, the admonition to “take courage” is an integral part of the divine formula of selfrevelation. God promises to Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you… When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown… For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior” (Is 43:1-3).
Let us draw courage from the words of St. Paul: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
Gospel • MARK 6:45-52
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.